While we still aren’t sure why Arthur, the longest-running animated children’s series in American TV history is coming to an end, PBS has found a way to keep its legacy going. Arthur is going digital.
PBS is planning a series of digital spinoffs for the beloved children series including a podcast, video shorts that tackle timely and compelling topics, and digital games.
News of Arthur’s end was announced in July of 2021 following an interview Kathy Waugh (she originally developed the show) had on the Finding DW podcast with Jason Szwimer.
“Arthur is no longer in production. We had our wrap party two years ago,” Waugh told Szwimer. “I think [PBS] made a mistake, and I think Arthur should come back and I’m know I’m not alone in thinking they made a mistake. I don’t know if it was a ratings issue or if it felt like it needed to be retired. To me, it felt evergreen, like it was never going to end but it did end, we finished the last episode, season 25 two years ago.”
Waugh developed the series for PBS from the books by Marc Brown. Arthur, which was produced by WGBH, centers on a young aardvark of the same name, and the lessons he learns from friends and family, while growing up in the fictional Elwood City.
Before the series officially bows out, PBS will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a special marathon, including four new episodes, which culminate in a much-anticipated ending that gives a glimpse into what’s in store for the future of these beloved characters.
The marathon will feature more than 250 episodes and movie specials back-to-back on the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and livestream, as well as on the PBS KIDS YouTube channel from February 16 at 9:00 a.m. EST to February 21 at 5:00 p.m. EST. The four brand-new episodes will air on PBS stations (check local listings) and stream free on PBS KIDS on February 21, concluding the show’s 25th and final television season.
However, while new shows won’t be made, the 25 seasons of Arthur (250+ episodes) will continue to be available on PBS KIDS.